The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood
The recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world, challenging the way we look at ancient history.
Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older story that existed centuries before in ancient Babylon. But the relationship between the Babylonian and biblical traditions was shrouded in mystery. Then, in 2009, Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum and a world authority on ancient Mesopotamia, found himself playing detective when a member of the public arrived at the museum with an intriguing cuneiform tablet from a family collection. Not only did the tablet reveal a new version of the Babylonian Flood Story; the ancient poet described the size and completely unexpected shape of the ark, and gave detailed boat building specifications. Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr. Finkel discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible. In The Ark Before Noah, Dr. Finkel takes us on an adventurous voyage of discovery, opening the door to an enthralling world of ancient voices and new meanings.
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THE ARK BEFORE NOAH: Decoding the Story of the FloodUser Review - Kirkus
The ubiquitous tale of the Great Flood was not new to the writers of Genesis. Finkel, the assistant keeper of ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and culture at the British Museum, offers some ... Read full review
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ancient Mesopotamia animals Apsū Ararat Ark Tablet Assyrian Assyriologists Atra-hasīs Atra-hasīs’s Babylon Berossus Bible biblical birds bitumen boat British Museum building cabins century Chapter clay coracle cubits cuneiform signs cuneiform tablets deck divine documents eleppu Enki Enki’s Epic Epic of Gilgamesh eṭemmu Flood Story Genesis Gilgamesh XI gods Greek guffa Hebrew Hornell human idea ideogram inscriptions Iraq Iraqi iṭṭū-bitumen Jehoiachin Judaean kilns king kupru-bitumen Lambert language literary literature Marduk means Mesopotamian Middle Babylonian millennium BC Mount Niṣir mountain nagū narrative Nebuchadnezzar’s nindan Nineveh Nippur Noah Noah’s Ark Old Babylonian Atrahasis omens parsiktu parsiktu-vessel picture acknowledgement recorded reed ribs river roof rope round šār scribe script Sennacherib shape Shuruppak Smith spell Sumerian Sumerian King List survive sūtu tēvāh thick things tradition translated ṭubbū types Urartu Utnapishti verb vessel walls waterproofing wild written Ziusudra